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The New York herald. [volume] (New York, N.Y.) 1920-1924, November 05, 1922, SECTION EIGHT, Image 81

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they could not settle at once questions
which we ourselves have not yet settled ,
If the colonists when they began the war
had no idea of declaring their independence
still less had they had intentions of
making themselves into a permanent confederation.
They were simply allies in a
common cause; and if they had looked
forward to complete independence at all it
would have been as distinct republics. The
notion of local rights was deeply implanted
in each one of them. This in itself is
enough to show you that England had not
hitherto interfered with them very much
ano constitutes anotner reason ror your
not blaming people who wished to stick to'
a country which on the whole had treated
them very well. But the consequence of
having been so long allowed to do as they
pleased was that all these separate and j
Jarring States disliked the thought of even
a loose connection between them if it were
to be permanent. It meant making con- I
cessions to each other which none of them
was prepared to make. Very few people
were willing so early as 1774 to echo the
words of Patrick Henry when he said: "I
am not a Virginian; I am an American."
Lafayette thought that the members of
Congress hated one another as much as
they hated the common enemy.
But in the case of the Constitution as in
the case of the war itself events kept pushing.
Events have always this power of
taking things out of people's hands. You
yourself will remember this almost in vnnr
own experience in the days before the great
world war. We as a people began and
wanted to remain neutral, but the aggressive
acts of Germany finally pushed us
Into the combat. People at first were very
suspicious of the movement which was
started along with the declaration for a
permanent confederation of the colonies.
It was not until after the revolution had
been won and the danger of weakness In
disunion had become very clear that the
idea began to find acceptance in the minds
Of the majority. Franklin, you remember,
was called the president and not the Governor
of his State; and it took five years
after the end of the war for people to get
used to the thought of having a power
above the State Assembly and an office
above that of its president. Not until then
were the leaders of the States assembled
In an actual attempt to draw up a constitution.
Then came four months of bitter
debate between the leaders who wanted as
much power as possible for the national
Government and the leaders who wanted
as much power as possible for the Individual
Naturally, therefore, the literature of all
this period was mainly that of passionate
dispute. A dispute not about theology as
that of the Puritans had been but a dispute
about polities. It was sometimes as
splendid literature of its kind as the whole
world has ever produced; but it was not
the kind which we call pure literature,
writing merely for its own sake. Often,
Indeed, it was not writing at all. Some of
the best speeches of the Revolutionary
period were not even put down on paper
at the time. And there were speeches,
and speches, and speeches'. Before and
during the war there were, of course.
speecnes against the King and the Loyalists.
and speeches against other people
who differed from the speaker In ideas of
how to set rid of both of them. After the
war came the second flood. Speeches by
people who wanted the States to separate
and people who wanted them to stay together.
And then by people who wanted
a part of the proposed new Union to lie
stronger than the whole, and by people
who wanted the whole to be stronger than
any of its parts. Washington said that
Congress, where only a small portion of
all these speeches took place, was torn
by the strife between persons and parties.
And Franklin said tbere was no telling
whether the whale would swallow Jonah
or Jonah would swallow the whale.
One feature of dispute is derision. Two
little boys or two little girls never have a
* difference of opinion without angrily mak- j
ing fun of each other. They try to belittle
each other's good points and exaggerate !
each otner's bad points. Wo call this derision.
sarcasm and satire. There were1
salty oceans and oceans of satire during
the War for Independence, and during the
first, fortunately bloodless, war for the 1
Constitution. Most of it took the form of j
songs and ballads. Even the best of these i
were like almost all such productions
struck off in the heat of battle?when the
smoke clears away they are seen to be
not so good as they seemed at the time.
1.1" .11 ?? IW
You know how tl^s works yourself. After
a quarrel is over you can think of far
more stinging remarks than when you
were at it hammer and tongs. But the
occasion has gone by for saying them, and
you wouldn't want to say them if it hadn't,
now that your blood has cooled off a bit.
Then there were also many songs and
ballads about the inc. dents of the war.
These, too, are never likely to teem as
good to a later gencr- tion as they seemed
at the time. But some of them were certainly
much better that the one which
stuck so long in people's minds that it remains
there now as a national song^This
is xniiiYi-r- nave you ever wonder?d
how it was that a patriotic sons
could be speaking of "dandy" and "macaroni"
and have such a ridiculous word as
"doodle" in it? It was largely an old
song and sung to an o'd Dutch tune; and
it seems to be the original chorus which
we sing now. It made fun of people who
dressed up in fine clothes and thought
they were fine fellows. Perhaps the slang
word we sometimes use now for that kind
of fellow, "dude," came from the same idea
as "doodle." "Macaroni" was the slang
word they used then and it meant about
The Tory's Da
the same as "dandy" does now when you
mean a chap who thinks more of his
clothes than the man inside them. So
when the British soldierr sang this song
about the American so'diers they meant
to convey that they were just play soldiers
and not much as fighter. The first complete
set of new words to this old song
was "The Yankees Return From Camp,"
and was written in 1775. The Yankees,
you see, took a song which made fun of
them and turned it Into a victory song.
Naturally, it was very successful.
Such songs to be successful do not need
to have any literary quality. If they have
a good catchy tune which can stir people,
that is all that is necessary. It is almost
like a school cheer. Itah! rah! rah! Bi!
bo! bah!" will make a much better cheer
than if you had good words or even real
ones. It is the way you say them which
has the inspiring quality you want in a
cheer. So with almost all national songs.
It seems to be the tune which makes people
remember them.
Another national song of which we can
be a little prouder has entirely original
words and an original tune. It is "Hail,
Columbia," written in 1778, when it looked
as though Americans might go to war with
France. For the two allies were quarreling
with each other about their rights almost
as soon as the Allies of the world war fell
to quarreling about theirs; and in that
case, as now, the quarrel did not spring so
much from the Governments as from the
passions of unreasonable and selfish people.
The third song which stuck in people's
minds we can approve still more as literature.
This is "The Star Spangled Banner,"
written actually during the bombardment
of a fort in the second war with Eng- '
I land in 1812. It is the words of this eong 1
I and its origin rather than the singableuess
1 of its spirited tui.e which has made it one
of our chief national songs. The foremost
one of all, our national hymn, was not
composed until much later, in 1832.
Many people deplore the fact that "My
Country, 'Tis of Thee" Is not more national.
A witty person has said that it is only an
American translation of the English national
hymn and set to the same tune,
which is German. But why is this so deplorable?
We are not a brand new fact
in the world's history, and all the world
has had a share in the making of us. Some
day a new national hymn will arise which,
while it will not, we hope, depreciate the
contributions other nations have made to
our success, will spring more from our own
soil. But one cannot force national hymns
in a hothouse, and we must not be impamr?-'
ly of Judgment. ,
tient. It took many times our national
lifetime to produce those of other countries.
Impatience was probably one of the
reasons why the period just after the
Revolution produced such poor literary
fruit. People who could write felt that
we were a wonderful phenomenon and
should talk like one. Many enthusiastic
patriots even thought we should invent
at once a new language and not speak i
English any more. The people whose (
writing was not called forth solely by the :
1 civil and political strife of the time feared 1
they would lie disgracing America unless
they talked in a bigger way than their 1
voices would let them. They were some- j
I thing like a boy who has just put on long ! 1
i pants or a girl when she first does her ;
hair up. You feel, you can't stand straight!
; and tall enough unless you stand like a '<
ramrod and tiptoe at that. What hap- |
pened in this period when writers felt they :
j must develop over night a big. different i
and national voice was just what happens
when you try to stand long on your tip- i
toes. Stiff as you are, you wobble.
About the tallest form of literature
which can be written is an epic. It tells
the story of the race or of humanity. Indeed,
it is so big that people haven't writ- .
ten any for a very long time, because now- i
adays we think that to tell things on such j '
a colossal scale is likely to make them I I
L922. a
break in the middle with their own weight. ^
Or perhaps it could be said that an epic is
like one of those prehistoric animals which
were so huge that in 4he end they couldn't
get food enough to keep them alive. There
were several |>eople in America who felt
that a new and different kind of nation
must produce a special tyand of genius at
once, and they set. about proving it by
writing epics. But, as you may imagine,
/1rnot<ir Klrtn-n nn rv* onnfonin
poems, so far from being native, only
showed that their authors had selected
something they admired best in classics or
in English literature and tried to outdo it.
All this, of course, was not unnatural
or even un pleasing in a new nation Just
born out of revolution. Yon expect it
to brag a little. This epic phase soon
passed away, but another and worse form
Df the same thing has unfortunately characterized
America almost ever 6ince. We
shall see that many of >tr most patriotic and
devoted citizens it has from time to time
condemned because they ventured to
censure this habit of talking big. When
a boy puts on his long pants he gets suddenly
very touchy about his new manhood
and constantly suspects he is still
being treated like a child. Principally he
resents any one finding fault with him.
Our new nation, unfortunately, did not
get over its long pants age for a century.
Even to-day we as a people are still
Somewhat intolerant of our most earnest
L'nirnn whnn t hco ilorn .-w ol.rvnron* ikftt
....... ..../ ..... V IU oussw
ire or our form of Government are capable
of improvement. Even yet, there
ire not many wise enough to see and own
what the wise Franklin saw in the beginning.
He saw that our Constitution,
splendid as it was, should have been better
and could have been so had it not been
forced to an all around compromise in order
to get itself passed at all. "It is." said
he, "as near perfect as any numerous body
of men could bring it. handicapped by their
prejudices, their passions, their local interests
and their selfish views."
Justifiable Homicide
THE STAG COOK BOOK. A man's cook
book for men. Collected and edited by
C. MacSheridan, with an Introduction by
Robert H. Davis. George H. Doran Company.
THE list of contributors to this volume
reads like an abbreviated "Who's
Who" of famous Americans, with
a few names that are not American. The
President is there, with his recipe for
wattles. Diplomacy is there with the
Ambassador from the French Republic
giving his ideas of how a radish salad
should be concocted or constructed, and
with Baron de Gartier, the Ambassador
of the Kingdom of Belgium, telling of the
composition of Watcrzoic de volatile. The
screen is there with Charlie Chaplin (steak
and kidney pie) and Donglas Fairbanks
(bread tart). Literature Is there with such
names as Booth Tarkington( corn flakes),
Stewart Edward White (mulligan), Willlam
Allen White (vegetable salad), Irvin
S. Cobb (hog jowl and turnip greens);
Rex Beach (onion clam chowder), Meredith
Nicholson (Wabash Valley steak);
Montague Class (bouillebaisse), George
Ade (scalloped oysters), Basil King
flnhster n la Kind Hpnrv van Dvkp
(fish chowder) and others.
In his introduction Robert H. Davis
tells the illuminating story of the French
nobleman who. in the early seventies,
was found seated at the table with his face
!n a plate of soup. Because of the fact
that a butcher Knife had been inserted
via the back between his fourth and fifth
ribs on the left side, he was quite deadClews
led nowhere. It became one of the
mysteries. Long afterward an old man
tottered into the office of the Prefect and
announced that he wished to make a
onfeesion. 'Proceed." said the official.
" 'Twas I." responded the ancient, "who
delivered the death stroke to the Due de
la thirty-five years ago." "What inspired
you to make the confession?"
"Pride." "I do not comprehend The details,
if you please." "By profession I was
i chef." said the self-accused. "The Due,
at a fabulous price, enticed me into his
service. His first request was that I
make for him a perfect consomme. Voila!
For three days I prepared this perfection.
With my own hand 1 placed before him the
oup tureen. With my own hand I ladled
it out. He inhaled its divine essence;
ind then, your Honor, he reached lor
the salt. Man IMeu! I destroy him."
Hie Prefect embraced the artist and took
him out to lunch.

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